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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

William Robert McNiven

In memory of:

Private William Robert McNiven

July 1, 1916

Military Service

Service Number:







Royal Newfoundland Regiment

Additional Information


September 7, 1914
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Son of Frederick and Rosann McNiven, of Portugal Cove Rd., St. John's, Newfoundland.

Commemorated on Page 79 of the Newfoundland Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page. Download high resolution copy of this page.

Burial Information


Somme, France

Grave Reference:



The largest of the battlefield parks established in memory of Newfoundlanders who fell in the First World War is Beaumont Hamel, nine kilometres directly north of the town of Albert. In BEAUMONT HAMEL MEMORIAL PARK, which was officially opened by Earl Haig on June 7, 1925, the monument of the great bronze caribou, emblem of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, stands on the highest point overlooking St John's Road and the slopes beyond. At the base of the statue three tablets of bronze carry the names of over 800 members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve, and the Mercantile Marine who gave their lives in the First World War and have no known grave. In the lodge, which houses the reception room for visitors to the Park, a bronze plaque, unveiled in 1961 by the Hon. Joseph Smallwood, Premier of Newfoundland, lists the Battle Honours won by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and pays tribute to its fallen. The park is one of the few in France or Belgium where the visitor can see a Great War battlefield much as it was. The actual trenches are still there and something of the terrible problem of advancing over such country can be appreciated by the visitor. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, no unit suffered heavier losses than the Newfoundland Regiment, which had gone into action 801 strong. When the roll call of the unwounded was taken next day, only 68 answered their names. The final figures that revealed the virtual annihilation of the Battalion gave a grim count of 233 killed or dead of wounds, 386 wounded, and 91 missing. Every officer who went forward in the Newfoundland attack was either killed or wounded.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

  • Picture of William Robert McNiven– Son of Frederick and Rosann McNiven of St. John's, Newfoundland.
  • Post card– A post card that William sent to his sister Maud.
  • Post Card– On this postcard Robert gives his sister Maud a little taste of camp life.  See the "Postcard to sister Maud" to read his comments.
  • A picture of Maud McNiven– A picture of Maud McNiven.
  • Picture of William in his uniform– Picture of William in his military uniform holding his mess can.
  • Robert writes to Maud before sailing– Robert writes Maud before heading to the Dardenelles. 
"Don't get downhearted because I am going to go out to do my duty for King and Country."
Dear Sister, Just a line to say I am ok, hoping you are the same.  We are at Devon Port we're on the ship going to sail in the morning for the Dardanelles,
no more news. From your loving brother Robert"
  • A note from Robert– A short note from Robert.
  • Postcard to sister Maud– "Dear Maud, Just a few lines to say that I am ok.  This is the kind of bottle we use for a route.  Your Brother Robert, Salisbury Plains, England"
  • Royal Newfoundland Regiment Insignia– In memory of the men who served in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment
during World War I and did not return home.
  • Biography– In memory of the men who served in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment
during World War I and did not return home.
  • Beaumont-Hamel Memorial
  • Commemorative Plaque
  • Inscription

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